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From VCC Fashion Grad to Program Instructor

Meet three VCC Fashion alumni turned instructors.

Jen Garces, Fashion Styling Instructor, Fashion Merchandising grad 2009 (pictured top right). I’ve been a personal stylist for over a decade. I’ve helped hundreds of clients with what to wear every day and for special events. I picked VCC because it offered night classes which let me work retail during the day. As a student I said yes to every opportunity. I volunteered at fashion weeks, was a wardrobe assistant on indie movies, and I was offered a job based on a school project! Teaching one of my favourite classes in the program feels very full-circle. I am happy to be helping students find a place for their passion. I hope they understand that the work they do is more important than any grade. 

Kathy Potter, Project Final Lab Instructor, Fashion Design & Production grad 2018 (pictured top left). I ran my own label for several years, designing special-occasion wear for bespoke clients and my store. Currently I am a costume builder in the film industry. We did a lot of journaling during the program which helped give me direction. There were several paths available, and I've gone down many of them since graduating. My younger self never imagined teaching, but now I enjoy passing forward my skills. For example, I taught a student how to mould a garment using lace. I think returning as an instructor fosters a real sense of community and belonging. 

Allison Drake, Fashion Cycle 3 instructor, Fashion Design grad 2008 (pictured bottom). I was always extremely shy and could never imagine being a teacher. VCC helped me find pride in my work and discover my voice. Now I find teaching engaging, rewarding, and wildly creative. It's what I always wanted to do; I just didn't know it. I love supporting a student through the stages of discovery and understanding. I hope students learn that it's okay to make mistakes and that there is joy to be found in the journey.  Being both a student and teacher has given me empathy. I see the students as individuals, everyone wanting to gain something different from the program while also sharing the VCC Fashion experience.